Benefits to the university

  • Integration of students into the new educational institution so that they can concentrate on their studies more efficiently
  • Improving the comfort and safety of students
  • Communication path between staff and students
  • Increasing the range of jobs on campus

Benefits to the international student

  • Receiving new contacts and facilitating networking
  • Helping to settle in to the new country, home region, and educational institution, as well as to cope with everyday life so that the student can concentrate on his/her studies more efficiently
  • Providing the chance to obtain Finnish work experience

Benefits to the student tutor

  • Providing the international student, if he/she is working as a tutor, the chance to obtain Finnish work experience
  • Providing new contacts and facilitating international networking
  • Developing problem-solving skills and the ability to grasp the full picture, communication and interaction skills, group work and leadership skills, as well as the ability to perform

The task of an international student tutor is to help international students to adapt to the Finnish and regional culture, university, study habits, and student life.

Both exchange and degree students need tutoring. Contacts with a tutor are especially important for degree students, because they will be studying at the university for several years.

The aim of tutoring is to provide a positive and realistic image of Finland, the city where the student is studying, and the university. An international student tutor listens to the opinions and wishes of students and fulfils them within reason. The tutor encourages the tutored students to also use their own initiative when settling into the university and the city.

An international student tutor serves as the initial contact with Finns and Finland for many newcomers. He/she also provides a natural link to life outside the university. The tutor introduces the new students to the Finnish lifestyle, customs, and unwritten rules of conduct. In the beginning, the student tutor may also demonstrate practical skills (for example, how the locks and stoves at the student apartment work).

Issues to consider when implementing the model

International student tutors are given training for tutoring tasks. In addition to practical information packages, the contents of the tutor training should prepare the future student tutors to master personnel administration and problem-solving skills, time management skills, and the consideration of cultural competence in tutoring. These skills can be practiced through e.g. case examples. Additionally, training should clearly outline the responsibilities of the student tutors as opposed to the responsibilities of the university staff.

An international tutor is:

  • a good friend
  • a peer student
  • an excellent guide
  • a broadminded cosmopolite
  • a master of organization
  • a party animal…

An international tutor is not:

  • a mother or a father
  • a psychiatrist to the international student
  • a travel agency
  • a money lender…

Exchange and degree tutors

Exchange tutoring is an important part of the international activities of the school. The tutors take care of the exchange students and help them to cope with e.g. the bureaucratic jungle and encountering a new culture. In addition, exchange tutors organize various recreational activities for exchange students.

Students with a foreign background can also work as exchange tutors, so our trainings and meetings are always held in English. It is also possible to receive study credits for exchange tutoring!

Degree tutors provide guidance to the international degree students of foreign-language programs. The aim is to arrange tutors for each starting group. Degree tutors are recruited and trained separately from the students of the English-language programs. Degree tutors may also take part in international tutor training.

Read more: Interview with Nelli Asikainen - Tutor is a diplomat